UN brokers 72-hour cease fire in Gaza

Mideast Israel Palestinians

NEW DELHI (AP) — Israel and Hamas have agreed to a humanitarian cease-fire to start Friday morning for 72 hours, the United States and United Nations announced Thursday.

In a statement released in New Delhi where Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling, the U.S. and U.N. said they had gotten assurances that all parties to the conflict in Gaza had agreed to an unconditional cease-fire during which there would be negotiations on a more durable truce in the three-week-old fighting.

“This humanitarian cease-fire will commence at 8 a.m. local time on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. It will last for a period of 72 hours unless extended. During this time the forces on the ground will remain in place,” the statement said.

“We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian cease-fire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the cease-fire.”

The statement said the cease-fire was critical to give civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence. During this period, civilians in Gaza will receive humanitarian relief and have time to bury the dead, take care of the injured and restock food supplies.

The time also will be used to repair water and energy infrastructure.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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